If you're a regular reader of our Go Solo blog, then you'll know that we're all about uncovering and encouraging a deeper meaning to life. Whether that's in work, life or pleasure, we're committed to shining a light on how you, yes YOU can live a happier, more enjoyable, and balanced existence on our fine blue planet.
Before you think we're going 'all spiritual' on you, it's pretty easy to explain why we're passionate about wanting to help more people achieve a better lifestyle.
And that's because life is short. Life can be tough. But that doesn't mean life has to be a never-ending repeat where each and every day becomes a grind. It's an old cliche, but every new day is the opportunity for a fresh start and we're here to help you make life-changing improvements, starting today.
The big COVID-19 reset
Throughout the 'black swan event' of COVID-19, workers of the world have realised quite how out of kilter their work/life balance has become. In fact, what coronavirus has uncovered is the general sleepwalk we've collectively done as a society towards accepting the normal rules of how to spend our day to day lives.
Take commuting. Pre-COVID it was pretty much accepted that we should travel in our own time to and from work, usually at the expense of family or personal interests. Thrown into small containers on wheels, with many elbows in your face, with prices rising year after year for the 'pleasure and convenience of the experience', we effectively just decided to swim with the tide like we were shoals of fish.
Throw in a hundred other day to day variables that we accepted as 'just how life is' from uncomfortable and stagnant office environments to unappealing mass-produced lunches and the day to day for most people was deliberately designed to be as unexciting as possible.
Very quickly, days turn into months, months into years, and years into decades. There goes/there went my life! Is a never-ending routine of the mundane really what we were all put on this planet for?
The opportunity to change our lives starts right now
So right now, we have an opportunity to do something about our collective situation and say, 'hey, it's time to press that reset button'. As jobs for life disappear, traditional companies shed job after job and we the individual clamber around for government support, we have a once in a lifetime chance to seize control of our own story.
Yes, there are a lot of things that we all wish could go back to normal once we kill off the scourge of this coronavirus. However, we must not let ourselves accept returning to a work/life balance if we're fundamentally unhappy with that equation. To sail straight back into the status quo would be missing an opportunity to pursue our interests with greater gusto, to build stronger, more fulfilling relationships, and to ultimately live a more meaningful and happier life.
Right now, it's important to take stock of where we're at by reflecting on our past, present, and future.
We should take solace that we all have 20, 30, 40, 50 years of life experience behind us ... but now is the time to look at what our next new exciting chapter is going to bring us in life.
We should be looking at finding our element more and how we can holistically achieve the perfect balance between the holy trinity (damn, we went spiritual again!) between, work, life, and the pursuit of happiness.
If you're ready to change your life and start on the road to the new you then read on. It's time to turn your "one day" into day one...
The 'Go Solo' 10 steps to change your life plan
Take a real-life and digital detox
It's probably been a long time since you stopped getting excited about that next upcoming notification on your phone, yet we've collectively become conditioned to check our phone over 50 times a day on average. In order to grab some headspace and really look at how to change your life, you're going to need to break the circuit and have some time off the grid.
If you're serious about changing your life then see if you can take a day or two away from your phone and plan to use this time to map out your future goals. If you can head for the hills or get away to a new environment then even better as this will open up new ways of thinking and remove you from any distracting habits and people that may slow you down.
Planning a new life
Speaking of plans, you've simply got to have one in life or drift and inertia will continue to be the norm. In fact, we're big planners here on the Go Solo blog as having an action plan helps you stack goals and projects in smart, logical ways.
Inversely, setting a plan will actually give you more time for creativity and spontaneity as you'll be able to commit to must-do tasks on certain days, whilst blocking out time for other areas of your life that need attention.
Your life plan doesn't need to be a billion-dollar startup investment style plan. However, it should reflect what your goals, dreams, and ambitions are for life. Think about who you were, where you're at in life right now, and the kind of person you want to become.
Who do you want to be in 1, 5, and 10 years time
Ok, so you're sitting in a cafe two towns over, with your phone on airplane mode and a blank piece of paper in front of you. Inspiration hitting yet? Quite possibly not, as planning the rest of your life is actually a lot harder than it looks.
But remember, your plan doesn't need to be massively complicated, you just need to get your brain engaged into active daydreaming mode. Some of our best tips for life planning are to look at the core areas of your life and think hard about what you wish to achieve in them. Some great topics and headings to dream about could be family, friends, work, life, home, travel, pleasure (and any other life areas that are important to you.)
Once you have these life priority headings, start thinking about what your dream life looks like. It could be that you do yourself a chart where some headings have your key growth areas on them, with the other side a timeline of how long it will take to get there.
Now's the time to fill in your life goals planner
Here are some examples to get you started:
(Goal) Pleasure: "I have sporadically done yoga over the past few years but now wish to start a regular yoga routine for relaxation, fitness and to meet new people with the same interest. I have always dreamed of being a yoga teacher"
(Timeline) In year one I aim to attend a minimum of two classes a week. In year two I will have attended a yoga-based international retreat. In year three I will have completed my yoga teacher training course.
(Goal) Work: "I have always dreamed of running my own street food truck as a way of pursuing my interest in food and running my own business"
(Timeline) In year one I will learn how to run a street food truck by working part-time for a local future competitor. By year two I will have written my business plan and launched my own truck. In year three, this will be my full-time job and I will be well known in my city for my unique and tasty food.
I am sure you'll find many other ways online to plan your goals and destiny using detailed SMART planning tools. However for this first shot at changing your life, your absolute number one goal is to inspire yourself and to give yourself the freedom to think big without getting too bogged down in the details.
Prioritising life goals and a plan to get there
Like I mentioned earlier, there's no need to get too caught up in the details right now, so let your mind run free and think of as many scenarios and directions you wish for your life to take.
Once you have say ten areas of life improvement that you've identified, I'd say the best thing to do is to take some time to mull over which ones you wish to prioritise, which are realistic (push yourself though!), and which are going to give your future self the most fulfillment.
If you've never heard of the saying 'opportunity cost' then start getting this into your head. In a nutshell, it basically means that if you're doing one thing, then you can't also be doing the same thing at the same time. Therefore the cost (either in interests, money, your business, your network) is choosing one thing and missing out on the other.
We'd all love to be a NASA astronaut. But unless you're some kind of superhuman multitasker, it's unlikely you're going to have the capacity to be a racing car driver, supermodel, UN ambassador, and doctor all at the same time. If you do manage to fit all this in, then you're also probably going to let other areas of your life slip like family and downtime. When choosing your priorities, think about how each feeds into each other and which will help you thrive and stay in perfect balance.
Map out your day to day life to the absolute finest detail
Now you have a handle on your life goals and priorities, it's time to work out how to fit them into your busy schedule.
A great tip is to get an online calendar template and start breaking up your day to day, week to week, month to month. Split your calendar into 30-minute slots and go through your priorities and realistically add them to your calendar.
No one is going to hold you to this, but by planning and mapping your new life, you'll get an idea for what is realistic in your limited hours.
If you've prioritised speaking to relatives more often, make sure you plan 2x 30-minute slots to speak with them each week. If you wish to attend two yoga classes a week then also put them in. Studying for a new course or running a new business? Put these time slots in too and then play around with realistic timings for commuting, sleeping, and day to day necessities.
As Jim Rohn said, "If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much."
So get planning now and be amazed as you start to see your new, obtainable life appear in front of your very own eyes.
How to stay accountable and not get distracted
Once you have a plan, let's put it to work.
Figure out how to make it happen and get it into production mode. Want to start that yoga class? Get signed up to a studio and book as far in advance as you can. Want to meet your friends once a week for dinner? Call up groups of pals and get those plans booked and in the diary asap. Ready to start that new business? Sign up to that online or local startup school to make it a reality.
If you start today, you'll be amazed at what you can achieve in days, weeks, and months by keeping up the momentum. Hold yourself accountable by building in rewards and penalties for if you don't action your plan. If you get really lost then sign up to an accountability group.
Find hacks to keep you on track such as 'law of attraction' meditations and keep yourself out of the way of distraction. Start your day with positive affirmations that today you're going to live the life you want and manifest your dreams. You're the one in the driving seat here, so now's the time to make your plans a reality!
Develop amazing micro habits
Speaking of meditation, there are many life hacks and micro habits you can form to give yourself a steady platform to achieve your goals. From no screen time before bed to daily stretching and regular time for fresh air, you will only achieve peak YOU if you learn what works best for yourself.
Your ultimate goal is to achieve a well-rounded life and not burn yourself out. Your goal is to have a better quality of life than when you were a daily, commuting, sleepwalking bot. You have the power to carve your own destiny from your daily actions and routine. So do it!
Read and consume only what makes you happy
If you're easily distracted then we've great news! Because so am I and so are the vast majority of human beings.
In fact, we're hard-wired for distraction, so sometimes it's exceptionally difficult not to zone out when at the task at hand and start thinking about dinner, Netflix, or whether to check Instagram for the hundredth time this hour.
Build yourself realistic life hacks to stop distraction, like switching your phone off when you're ready to do deep work and only consume what you feel is useful to you and your goals.
People think of digestion as just being about the food we eat, however, our brain is constantly digesting all of the stimuli we're either being force-fed or actively seeking out as a way to take time out.
Start getting selective about where your attention is going and you'll give your brain less work to do and free up more time in your day to achieve your life goals.
Find the perfect job or create your own business
Ok Jonny, ok, we're sold on this idea I hear you say. My new dream life sounds like paradise, but how the hell am I going to earn enough money to survive, let alone thrive...!?
Well, here's the thing! Because you're now prioritising yourself and work/life balance, there's nothing here to also say that you can't have enough hours in your day to achieve your goals and have a successful career.
If your current job won't fit into your dream life then maybe it's time to reassess your priorities and think about a career change. Do you like your job, do you like what you're doing, and are you sure this role will turn you into who you want to be in five years time?
Could you earn a lower wage and still be happy with minimising your outgoings? Have you looked at your budget and figured out where your money is really going each month?
Now don't go quitting your job right now in a blaze of glory like Edward Norton in Fight Club, but now could be the time to start formulating that 'leaving your job exit plan'. In one year from now, you could have successfully left that part of your life behind by starting a new profession or even creating your new dream job.
Life is a process and is mainly about small steps towards a bigger goal. Keep those legs walking towards your new perfect life and you'll reach your destination, without hesitation.
Set yourself time for regular reflection
Speaking of process, your new life is going to be a work in progress and a constantly evolving set of opportunities to re-evaluate, reaffirm, and reflect. Some of your plans will go well, some won't. But hey, that's life!
It could well be that you start and end each day with an evaluation of what you want to achieve and what you accomplished. You're also going to want to set yourself weekly and monthly check-ins to keep your plan on track. Schedule this in too, because if you don't do it, then you'll likely never do it.
But if you do follow and commit to our Go Solo plan today, we're pretty confident that in the coming weeks and months you'll look at yourself in the mirror and smile back at the person you've become.
As Martin Luther King once said: “You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.”
Until next time...keep winning
If you like what you've read here, have your own success story, or want to join the conversation around entrepreneurship then hit me up on Twitter or check out our YouTube channel - I'm always around!
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.